Housing Strategy

Whether starting out, growing a family, or down-sizing - everyone deserves a home

That’s why we are working on several policies to address housing and affordability in our community.

Victoria Housing Strategy 2016 - 2025

Council adopted Phase Two: Victoria Housing Strategy 2019 - 2022 in July 2019 which builds on Phase One of the strategy and Council’s Strategic Plan.

The Strategy provides guidance for housing policies and initiatives that meet residents’ needs across the housing continuum, including non-market housing, affordable rental housing, market rental housing, and affordable or entry-level ownership. No one policy on its own is expected to address all housing needs and collaboration with senior levels of government is critical.

The strategy includes 44 actions that focus on ways to:

  • Improve affordability, stability and choice for renters
  • Encourage new housing supply
  • Encourage a range of housing options to meet the needs of residents
  • Track our progress and improve the City’s housing policies and programs
  • Try bold ideas to achieve new results

 

Read The Victoria Housing Strategy Phase Two [PDF - 3 MB]

Rental Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw

 

Victoria City Council is considering a new bylaw that will establish minimum standards of maintenance in rental apartments throughout the city. This is an action of the Victoria Housing Strategy 2019-2022.

 

The purpose of the Rental Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw is to ensure the safety and livability of rental housing for tenants, and to provide standards for the province to enforce its Residential Tenancy Act, the provincial legislation that governs tenant-landlord relationships. The Rental Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw outlines building components (plumbing, heating, structural elements, etc.) and describes the standards to which they are expected to be maintained. This bylaw applies to all rental housing units in Victoria.

 

The bylaw and staff report are available here:

 

To Provide Feedback:

 

Pursuant to section 59 (2) and (3) of the Community Charter, persons who consider that they may be affected by the proposed bylaw must be provided an opportunity to make representations to Council, and Council has authorized written feedback as the method for how these representations will be received. Please submit your written comments to legislativeservices@victoria.ca by 4:30pm on October 7, 2020.

 

(For questions only, please contact housing@victoria.ca)

 

The following initiatives will continue in 2020:

  • Advance and support the rapid supply of affordable and supportive housing in neighbourhoods throughout the City, with government partners and non-profit housing providers
  • Bring forward an expanded Rental Property Standards of Maintenance Bylaw for consideration
  • Develop a Rental Property Licensing Bylaw to prevent renovictions and demovictions
  • Explore the creation of a non-profit administered rent bank on a pilot basis
  • Secured Rental Housing Project to support the creation of new market and affordable rental housing, while retaining Victoria's existing purpose-built rental housing stock. This project includes:
  • Development of a Secured Rental Housing Policy
  • Consider how and when to apply the new Residential Rental Tenure Zoning tool
  • Review and update the City’s current Rental Replacement Policy in order to encourage the replacement of rental units and mitigate tenant displacement where feasible
  • Missing Middle Housing Project to create more housing choice by making it easier to build diverse ground-oriented housing like duplexes, houseplexes and townhouses, that fit well within neighbourhoods and support citywide liveability and sustainability goals
  • House Conversion Regulation Updates that will make it easier to convert houses to multiple units in order to create more rental, affordable rental and affordable home ownership units, while incentivizing heritage designation
  • City-Owned Sites for Affordable Housing: The City of Victoria is actively contributing land to affordable housing, including:
    • A recently approved rental housing project that includes 130 affordable and below market units at the Fire Hall site in partnership with BC Housing and Pacifica Housing
    • Two BC Housing affordable housing projects entering the rezoning process in the Burnside (87 units) and Fernwood (155 units) neighbourhoods
    • Seeking new land acquisitions to support future BC Housing project(s) subject to BC Housing future funding calls
    • Land and buildings provided at nominal cost to support a 48 bed transitional shelter

A full list of all 44 housing actions for 2019-2025 are listed in the Victoria Housing Strategy (2019-2022) [PDF - 3 MB]

Federal and Provincial support during COVID-19

Learn about the range of financial supports available during the COVID-19 pandemic response here.

Recent Housing Work

The following initiatives have been undertaken recently to improve housing in Victoria:

  • A Renter Engagement Toolkit [PDF] to help increase the participation and voice of renters/tenants in City engagement opportunities
  • Short-term rental regulations geared to increase access to long-term rental housing
  • Tenant Assistance Policy to provide better support for renters who are required to move when their building is rezoned for redevelopment
  • Renter’s Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations to Council on rental housing and tenant related matters
  • Inclusionary Housing and Community Amenity Policy to encourage affordable housing in new multi-unit strata development
  • Victoria Housing Reserve Fund contributions to support the development and retention of affordable housing in Victoria, including committing $1.8 million to build 138 new affordable homes for seniors, families, working individuals, and people with disabilities
  • Victoria Housing Reserve Fund Guidelines Update that added tenant protections, new affordable housing targets, a focus on those most in need and increasing the fund contribution from $250,000 to $1 million for 2019
  • New Housing Targets that define affordable rent amounts using Victoria’s renter’s median incomes, as well as to establish targets for creating 2800 new housing units by 2024, with more than 50% of these units being affordable to households earning less than $54,999 per year
  • Prioritizing new affordable and rental housing project applications to help create more housing faster, and waiving application fees for non-market housing projects

Upcoming Housing Work in 2021

  • Family Housing Strategy to encourage the development of more two-and three-bedroom units and to ensure new housing meets the needs of families
  • Housing Working Group formation to review progress on Housing Strategy items
  • Market Rental Energy Upgrades Pilot Program that uses municipal tax incentives to encourage the rehabilitation of existing rental buildings to achieve seismic resiliency and energy efficiencies with limited tenant displacement 
  • Housing Champions to develop a team to promote informed awareness and acceptance of affordable housing projects and housing or social initiatives in the community

Get Involved

Visit engage.victoria.ca to learn about current and upcoming opportunities to provide input on housing-related work.

Other Housing Resources